CMT Announces 50-50 Video Airplay for Female Artists

The network is aiming to take direct action toward gender balance in country.

Written by Chris Parton
CMT Announces 50-50 Video Airplay for Female Artists
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 13: Jennifer Nettles attends the 53nd annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena on November 13, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Taylor Hill/Getty Images)

Seeking to address the proven bias against female artists in country music, CMT has announced a bold new initiative to devote half of their music-video programming to women.

The network revealed the news Tuesday (January 21), say that 29 hours of primetime videos played across CMT and CMT Music channels will now be split 50-50 between male and female country acts.

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“Time is really up in 2020! All the talk around what can be done to support females in country music needs to transform into action, once and for all,” CMT’s Senior Vice President of Music & Talent, Leslie Fram, says. “At CMT, we are stepping up our own commitments, in addition to our work through the CMT Next Women of Country franchise, and will be announcing a new initiative in the coming weeks that will spark this much-needed change in our industry.”

Despite years of research and reporting, female country artists still receive a much smaller proportion of radio play than their male peers — a policy based on the idea that listeners do not want to hear female voices. Since terrestrial radio is still an important force for discovery and promotion in the format, it effectively caps the number of elite female artists in the genre.

The issue was explored with CMT’s help on TBS’ Full Frontal With Samantha Bee last week, and along with the 50-50 video programming split, CMT announced changes to CMT Radio and a 50-50 make up of this year’s CMT Listen Up spotlight on new acts.